Republican Party of India
|Founder||B. R. Ambedkar|
|Founded||3 October 1957|
|Preceded by||Scheduled Castes Federation|
The Republican Party of India (RPI) is a political party in India. It has its roots in the Scheduled Castes Federation led by B. R. Ambedkar. The 'Training School for Entrance to Politics' was established by Ambedkar in 1956 which was to serve as an entry point to the Republican Party of India (RPI). The first batch of the school consisted of 15 students. Its first batch turned out to be last batch as the school was closed after Ambedkar's death in 1956.
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a political organisation formed under the leadership of B. R. Ambedkar on 15 August 1936. It opposed the brahmanical and capitalist structures in India, supported the Indian working class and sought to dismantle the caste system.
The formation of the ILP was not welcomed or supported by the communist leaders, who argued that it would lead to a split in the working-class votes. Ambedkar replied that communist leaders were working for the rights for the worker but not for the human rights of Dalit workers. In his work Annihilation of Caste, Ambedkar put forth the idea that caste is not merely the 'division of labour' but 'division of labourers' based upon graded inequality.
In 1938, the ILP, with the support of the Congress Socialist Party, organised a march of 20,000 tenants from the Konkan region to Bombay, marked the largest pre-independence peasant mobilisation in the region. In the same year, it also joined with Communists to organise Bombay textile labourers in opposition to a bill intended to control strike actions by the labourers. ILP opposed the bill in the Bombay Legislative Assembly.
Scheduled Castes Federation
Scheduled Castes Federation (SCF) was an organisation in India founded by B. R. Ambedkar in 1942 to campaign for the rights of the Dalit community. An executive body of All India SCF was elected in the convention. N. Sivaraj from Madras State was elected as President and P. N. Rajbhoj from Bombay State was elected as general secretary.
Ambedkar had founded the Depressed Classes Federation (DCF) in 1930 and the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1935. Sources vary regarding which of these two bodies was succeeded by the SCF. SCF later evolved into the Republican Party of India.
There was also a party called SCF in Pakistan after Partition. Ramnarayan Rawat stated that the SCF "created the space for an alternative to Congress-type 'nationalist' politics in post- 1947 Uttar Pradesh".
During the recent years RPI suffered severe internal strife. Several distinct parties claim the name of RPI. There are more than 50 factions of RPI. In 2009, all factions of RPI except Prakash Ambedkar's Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh reunited to form a united "Republican Party of India (United)". Later, Republican Party of India (Gavai) and Republican Party of India (A) led by Ramdas Athawale split again from the united party. Splinter groups of RPI include:
- Republican Party of India (A) of Ramdas Athawale
- Republican Party of India (United)
- Republican Party of India (Gavai) of R. S. Gavai and Rajendra Gavai
- Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Prakash Ambedkar
- Rashtriya Republican Party of Annasaheb Katare
- Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram worked with RPI for eight years. He found the reason of RPI's decline in Poona Pact. He criticized the Poona Pact and even later organised Poona Pact dhikkar (Down with Poona pact) rallies and published his Chamcha Age in 1982 to mark 50 years of the Pact. He started to mobilize Bahujans or 85% of Indian population consisting of Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and religious minorities to develop a political force. He supported Ambedkar's slogan "Political power is the master key" that is solution to all problems. He on 14 April 1984 formed Bahujan Samaj Party which is currently third largest national party in India.
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